Home Senators inquire about crypto’s role in fentanyl trade

Senators inquire about crypto’s role in fentanyl trade

A bipartisan duo of senators in the United States have sent an inquiry to government agencies concerning the efforts to combat the use of cryptocurrency in the illicit fentanyl market.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and William Cassidy (R-La.) have sent a letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which reads:

[We] seek an update on the Biden Administration’s actions to crack down on drug traffickers’ exploitation of crypto to grow their business and launder their ill-gotten gains

The Senators claim that cryptocurrencies have become increasingly prominent in the fentanyl trade, with much of the drug ending up in the United States for consumption. The letter, addressed to ONDCP director Rahul Gupta and DEA administrator Anne Melissa Milgram, asks the agencies to provide answers by June 14.

Questioning the crypto fentanyl trade

The senators are requesting information regarding the significance of cryptocurrency in drug trafficking; new initiatives to be implemented in the next 12 months; metrics for measuring success; and challenges faced by their offices in those efforts. The senators cited data showing that Chinese companies supplying fentanyl precursors received nearly $30 million in crypto, which they claim is enough to produce $54 billion worth of fentanyl.

Warren has been previously criticized for citing misconstrued data in her anti-crypto agenda. In a letter addressing illicit cryptocurrency activity, she cited an article that had incorrectly stated the extent of Hamas’s use of cryptocurrency. Though The Wall Street Journal later corrected the article she cited, Warren did not publicly respond.

This development follows late April reports that a collaboration among law enforcement in India and the United States has led to the discovery of a cryptocurrency drug ring worth $360 million.

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Radek Zielinski
Tech Journalist

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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